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About this mod

New water surface textures were carefully crafted in an attempt to imitate the fluid motion of water. Lake, pond, river and ocean water are now visually and aurally distinct from each other. Various water effects have also been modified.

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A detailed list of optionals available can be viewed here.

v1.1 Bobbing Ice Preview
v1.0 Water Preview
Overview and MO Installation


  • Water surface normals for ENB's water parallax and displacement features are now available for all resolution sizes. They have been further adjusted from 0.2.
  • Sped up ripple movement of lake, ocean and hot spring water.
  • Balanced ice crack and creek sound effects courtesy of LoRd KoRn.
  • Carried over region data I had missed from Dawnguard to Dawnguard dependent plugins.
  • Animated a rowboat placed near some ice floes.
  • Removed unmodified Skyrim Particle Patch meshes from the archive.


  • All plugins must be placed after any mod that modifies a cell near a body of water. Therefore I recommend placing this mod VERY low in your mod list.
  • Compatibility plugins for Realistic Needs and Diseases are available.
  • Carried forward edits from the DLCs, bug fixes from the Unofficial Patches, mesh improvements from SMIM and the Skyrim Particle/Subsurface Scattering Patch. Let this mod overwrite everything--including other HD texture mods.
  • Water surface and Dragonborn waves support for Dawnguard, Dragonborn, Wyrmstooth and Falskaar are provided.


This is Realistic Water Textures revived and remade from scratch. New water surface textures were carefully crafted in an attempt to imitate the fluid motion of water. Lake, pond, river and ocean water are now visually and aurally distinct from each other. Various water effects have also been modified.

Water - Visual:
Rivers and creeks are the only bodies of water with an obvious flow direction. It was strange seeing lake, pond and ocean water flowing only in one direction and by definition lakes and ponds don't flow. Instead, they will appear to ripple and bob in place to emulate the vertical movement of real life, standing water.

Lake, pond, river and ocean water are a bit more blue. In a mountainous region like Skyrim, water should be fairly cold. Colder water limits the growth of freshwater algae and other plant particles, which tends to give water its greenish hue. Ocean and river water are now bluest followed by lake, pond then marsh water. Keep in mind this mod was balanced with vanilla lighting so other lighting mods will affect the color.

In addition, I've gone through almost every interior and exterior cell with water and made cell edits when appropriate to allow unique water types for the four major bodies of water in Skyrim: oceans, lakes, rivers and marshes/ponds. Without cell edits, lakes and ponds would share the same texture and settings as the ocean. I've also used cell edits to correct the flow of rivers if possible. Regardless, I had already attempted to craft river water in such a way that multiple flow directions could be interpreted depending on the angle of view.

Water - Audio:
Now that lake, pond and ocean water are separated, it's possible to give them unique, ambient sound effects. Ponds are silent. Lakes and oceans have gentle, gurgling, steady waves. To match the quality and volume of the new sounds, the river ambient sound effect was replaced as well. If RealisticWaterTwo - Waves.esp is installed, all waves from Dragonborn will now have a crashing water sound effect (unfortunately not perfectly synced). The volume of the new sound effects can be configured through the default game menu (Settings>Audio). Finally, the volume of waterfalls and rapids has been increased.

Bobbing Objects:
Cell edits are also used to allow some icebergs, ice chunks and rowboats floating in the water to animate and gently bob around. Without cell edits to modify specific references, the references that are on land would also bob. Bobbing icebergs will occasionally emit a cracking sound effect. Bobbing ice chunks will gurgle. An optional file for longboats is provided but static objects such as crates and barrels will not move with the boat.

All wave plugins require Dragonborn installed. The waves from the Dragonborn DLC were slowed down and retextured. In particular, the splash and foam effects were made more visible. All done via mesh and texture edits.

The logic I mostly followed in placing them is simple: is there a large expanse of primarily open, deep water where wind-powered waves can build up before breaking towards the shore? If yes, then there will most likely be a large wave there. Looking at the waves already on Solstheim, it appears Bethesda followed the same logic. RealisticWaterTwo - Waves.esp is required for the wave sound effect to apply to all waves.

Large waterfalls have been sped up animation-wise, retextured and more splash particles have been added. Waterfall mists have more volume. All done via mesh and texture edits.

  • Foam effects have been retextured.
  • Rain ripples will no longer slide across the surface of the water. Rain and water drop ripples have been retextured and transparency has been increased.
  • Small "fake water" rapids and the foamy streams in Whiterun and Markarth have been sped up animation-wise.
  • "Shiny" rocks near bodies of water now look wetter.


Click here.


This is a completely script-free mod!

Normal maps have been left uncompressed to reduce the appearance of compression artifacts, which are more noticeable with water. Do not run a texture optimizer on any of the files in this mod. All files are saved in the intended compression format. If you want more performance, choose a lower resolution set instead.

High = 1024x1024 uncompressed water surface normals.
Medium = 512x512 uncompressed water surface normals.
Low = 256x256 uncompressed water surface normals. This is essentially the same resolution as vanilla water.

As resolution decreases, ripples and reflections will start to blend together and become more blurry. There will be a loss of detail as the tiniest of ripples become no more. If you can't tell the difference, I recommend choosing a lower resolution set to avoid the 3.1 GB cap.


There are no special instructions since this is a script-free mod. Just make sure you completely uninstall all files before updating.


SparrowPrince for taking over Realistic Water Textures after I burnt myself out from modding, for keeping it alive through WATER and for allowing use of some modified features from WATER.
Brumbek for allowing use of various meshes from SMIM.
mindflux for allowing use of various meshes from the Skyrim Particle/Subsurface Scattering Patch.
paganmetalfan for the ENB screenshot.